“Bearing Arms” Continues The Irrational Hatred For Open Carriers

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 1 month ago

Bob Owens and I always disagreed on open carry, and I told him so very plainly.  It looks like the visceral, emotional, irrational hatred for open carriers continues in Bob’s absence with a writer named Tom Knighton.

There’s a lot of debate that takes place around the idea of open carry. Many argue that open carry is tactically stupid as it makes it clear to any potential bad guy who to take out first during a robbery. Others counter with arguments about how open carry initiates conversations about the Second Amendment and our right to keep and bear arms.

Both are good points, but for one open carrier in Fayetteville, NC, open carry isn’t such a grand thing these days.

[ … ]

Officers arrived and discovered that a man had grabbed a gun off another man who was open-carrying the weapon. The man who grabbed the gun then ran off.

Of course, this illustrates one of the main problems with open carry. Besides freaking out the uninitiated citizen, it also makes yourself a target for crap like this.

To be sure, there are things you can do to mitigate this kind of thing. First, look at your holster and see how easily it is to draw from someone else’s hip. I’ve found that some holsters are very easy to draw from when they’re no your hip, but not so much when they’re on someone else’s.

Also, look at learning some weapon retention techniques. These are, in my opinion, a good idea for anyone who is carrying a firearm, whether open or concealed. The last thing you want is for your decision to rely solely on stealth to come back and bite you in the rear should someone figure out you’re packing.

That said, stealth–in other words, carrying concealed–is the best way in which to carry as a general rule. If you want to make a statement, that’s fine, but don’t expect anyone to listen to you when they’re concerned about the heater on your hip. Some will, but a lot more won’t.

But if you’re serious about protecting yourself and others with a firearm, carry it concealed. Doing so means that not only will you minimize your chances of being murder target number one in the event of a robbery, but you’ll also help make sure that you actually have your gun at that key moment, rather than having lost it to some schmuck in a local Walmart who snatched it and ran off.

Folks, if we want to be considered responsible gun owners, we need to act like it. That means not advertising what we have so would-be thieves like this can grab a hold of our weapons and run for the hills. The last thing any of us want is to help arm criminals, but just what do you think happened with this weapon?

This is an idiotic commentary.  First of all, I absolutely hate the words “packing” for carrying (concealed or openly), and “heater” for firearm.  It comes across as fifth grade level writing (or worse, something a MSM “journalist” would say, but maybe I’m being redundant).  It’s language like this that serves to poorly educate the public rather than open carry.  I don’t “pack a heater,” and neither should you.  I carry a firearm.

He states that “Many argue that open carry is tactically stupid as it makes it clear to any potential bad guy who to take out first during a robbery.”  I’ve made it clear what I think about that argument.

I’ve stated before that you get to hide the fact that you’re carrying a gun to a perpetrator is the most hideously awful argument against open carry I can conceive.  It’s tactically absurd, inasmuch as if the perpetrator intends to perpetrate a crime, he’s going to regardless of whether you have a gun.  You will still have an opportunity to prevent it, and it’s more likely that you’ll be the first to engage the perpetrator.

That’s not a bad outcome unless you wish to see women and children perish before you do.  “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).  I’m not knocking concealed carriers as cowards.  Much of the time I’m a concealed carrier when circumstances prevent me from open carry.  I’m knocking those who knock open carry for the reason that a concealed carrier gets to wait to engage.  I don’t carry a weapon in order to wait to engage.  You don’t hear LEOs making the argument that openly carrying their weapon is a tactical disadvantage.  Let’s don’t look stupid by making that argument for ourselves.

Next, he charges open carriers like me with being irresponsible and unserious.  I’m simply befuddled where he would come up with something like that or why he would make that charge.  He gives no reasons at all, he just reacts like a schoolgirl to something he read in the news.  If he wishes to demonstrate that he can present from a concealed position faster and more reliably than I can present from an open position, I’m waiting and I’ll take the challenge any time.  And while I don’t want to appear “holier than thou,” it’s better for me to engage first and be the one a perpetrator shoots at than some woman or child, even ones I don’t know.

So if you’re an open carrier, use this as a great learning example and do better than the man in the report.  Be more vigilant and aware of circumstances, and wear a retention holster.  I am and I do.  Next, he states unequivocally that more people won’t listen to us than do listen.  He doesn’t really know that, he just made it up.  I’ve had many conversations with folks asking me about it (from the perspective of God-given rights to the laws in my state), and while I initially took the position that I open carry because I simply hate concealed carry and I sweat my weapon, I have morphed to a position of speaking out and trying to educate with my practice of openly carrying.  I think it makes good sense, or otherwise I wouldn’t do it.

I’m guessing it’s been more than a year since I’ve read anything at Bearing Arms, and now I know why.  This is simply awful firearm commentary.  They should be doing a much better job of arguing for and discussing what we see as our God-given rights rather than trying to make sure they run to the crumbs that fall from the master’s table.  At one time open carry was the common practice in America, and it was considered uncouth, crass, ill-bred and even criminal to conceal your weapons.

We should return to that practice, and the only way to do that, other than changes to the law, is educating an ignorant public.  As I’ve said, I open carry “For the peace, good and dignity of the country and the welfare of its people.”  Just so.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. On January 5, 2018 at 4:57 am, Francis W. Porretto said:

    “…if the perpetrator intends to perpetrate a crime, he’s going to regardless of whether you have a gun.”

    That’s a dubious proposition. Indeed, the law once regarded it as a conclusive test for mental illness that would immunize a defendant against criminal penalties. It was called the “policeman at the elbow” test.

    While I agree with you about the virtues of open carry, I’d be careful about such extravagant statements. They “prove too much,” putting you in the position of having to defend implications that aren’t really defensible.

  2. On January 5, 2018 at 9:55 am, Herschel Smith said:


    Hmm … I’m convinced that an open carrier can prevent a crime, and I’m also convinced that a perp who intends a mass shooting won’t be deterred by any carrier. But I still don’t like the wording of my response in the commentary.

    The context shows that I was addressing the LEO’s objections, when he said this:

    “I also explain how disadvantageous it can be if you give away the fact that you’re carrying a gun to a potential bad guy, they already see you as a threat first rather than being able to be reactionary and maybe stopping something from happening,” Palmer said.”

    When something is so ridiculous as this statement, it’s difficult to debunk it without also sounding stupid because you have to enter their world, which of course is stupid.

  3. On January 5, 2018 at 9:57 am, LiberTarHeel said:

    As far as Mr. Porretto’s comments, for what it’s worth I understood your assertion differently, and I’m with you on that. My semantic quibble lies here: “At one time … it was considered uncouth, crass, ill-bred and even criminal to conceal your weapons. … We should return to that practice…”. I believe that I know what you meant, but I would hate for anyone to misconstrue your language to infer that you want concealed carry to be illegal. Thanks for your excellent columns!

  4. On January 5, 2018 at 10:23 am, Fred said:

    The article starts out fine. It demonstrates some descent info about open and concealed carry but it quickly devolves into the authors opinion about open carry minus any further facts. I suspect, Herschel, as you alluded to, the guy is a mouthpiece for the state.

    Forcing people to hide their weapons is a form shaming. Make sure you hide your dirty little weapon from the new religious zealots, the new puritans of all the feelings that are fit to be allowed and none that aren’t.

    If we are to become responsible for the feelings of others, devoid of facts, all of society collapses. Screw your feelings about my gun. Your feelings are YOUR problem. I will not submit to the new puritanism run amok religion.

    While 99 percent of what Freud said was godless idiocy I think he was onto something when he said: “A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.”

  5. On January 5, 2018 at 11:40 am, Herschel Smith said:


    No, I hope I didn’t come across that I wanted concealed carry to be illegal. I open carry at times as I said, and conceal at times. If you make this a campaign, then you embarrass your wife at a nice dinner table arguing with Northerners (mostly) who go “Ewwww … a gun.” And you’e ruined a nice night.


    yep. Hence I said this: “Laws against open carry are bigoted, prejudiced, vengeful, ill tempered and spiteful.” Of course they’re trying to shame us.


  6. On January 5, 2018 at 11:54 am, Angus McThag said:

    What’s the ratio between open-carriers who’ve had their gun snatched from their holster…


    … conceal carriers who’ve left their gun behind in a bathroom or something?

    Like hiding the gun makes the carrier inherently more responsible than exposing it?

  7. On January 5, 2018 at 3:24 pm, Pat Hines said:

    I give the shortest shrift to those who call any form of weapon carry as wrong or poorly thought out. The late Bob Owens was an idiot.

    I treat those that say such things as somewhat cowardly, looking for an excuse to not be openly armed, and worse. They should stay on the porch.

    When we get our South Carolina law against open carry changed, I will decide when and where I open or concealed carry, and which firearm I’ll do those actions with, handgun or rifle.

  8. On January 5, 2018 at 6:14 pm, June said:

    I quit reading Bearing Arms because most of the other writers were as annoying as Bob Owens. I pretty much quit reading all of the other Red State sites because of their “principled” opposition to Trump.

    Like left wing anti-gunners, those opposed to open carry of self defense handguns always ignore the stories of how handguns were taken away from concealed carriers too.

    Carry open, carry concealed, I don’t care, just carry the way that best suits your lifestyle and your interpretation of the situation. It’s not my right to tell you how to exercise your right.

  9. On January 7, 2018 at 10:54 am, Garry Marr said:

    If somebody is in a place where its acceptable to open carry a gun, why did they bring a pistol and not a rifle? Maybe when its a talisman it doesnt matter what size it is?

    If it’s socially and legally cool for people to see my gun, its going to be a long gun. If it’s not OK to have one, legally or socially, I’ll conceal it.

  10. On January 7, 2018 at 11:30 am, Herschel Smith said:


    Everybody makes their own decision. I’d prefer not to carry around a long gun wherever I go.

  11. On January 7, 2018 at 1:36 pm, Larry Taylor said:

    I went to the trouble of obtaining an Oregon CWL specifically because (1) I could, and (2) because I don’t advocate open carry (which was the alternative when traveling in Oregon). While not a big fan of open carry (I may do it occasionally, but <5% of the time), I would strongly encourage use of a retention type holster when open carrying.

  12. On January 7, 2018 at 1:42 pm, Herschel Smith said:


    The point is not what I advocate or you advocate, although I did outline what I advocate and the reasons for it. I don’t disparage concealed carriers and their choice, and no one should disparage my own choice. Bob Owens did just that, very critically I might add. Rob Pincus also disparages the choice of open carry. There are others. The NRA has almost never come to the defense of open carriers.

    Everyone should make their own choice. Every choice we make on this is God-given and protected by the constitution as the covenant under which we all have agreed to live, LEOs and politicians included.

  13. On January 7, 2018 at 6:46 pm, JFP said:

    This debate is so tedious anymore. I loathe the anti-open carry types for their idiocy on the legal, tactical and social/cultural front. They all live in fear and dress it up under the guise of tactical reasons to not open carry. They’re more foolish than the dudes who sling an AR/AK on their back when they go down to the local taco bell or burger king.

  14. On January 7, 2018 at 7:19 pm, Ned said:

    I haven’t been to Bearing Arms since Bob Owen started that crap, and haven’t been back. I see I haven’t missed anything of value.

  15. On January 8, 2018 at 1:44 pm, Chris Mallory said:

    I quit reading Bearing Arms once I realized it was full of cop sucking “conservatives”. I wonder why they don’t give us any numbers on open carriers who are “shot first by the holdup man”? We will never know the number of robbers who turn around and look for an easier target once they see a man open carrying a firearm.

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You are currently reading "“Bearing Arms” Continues The Irrational Hatred For Open Carriers", entry #18377 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published January 4th, 2018 by Herschel Smith.

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